Information on Various Infections from Cat Bites

Cat bites are very common, and tend to be taken lightly compared to dog bites. Most often, cats will bite parts of the upper part of the body. As a cat owner, you need to be aware of the fact that cat bites can lead to very serious infections. At the worst, you may need several surgeries to get through the infection. It is therefore important for anyone who handles cats to make a point of seeing a doctor whenever they get a cat bite. This is best done as soon as possible; before things get out of hand.

Related topic: Understand Your Cat’s Biting Habit

How Does A Cat Bite Infection Occur?

The saliva of cats, just like that of dogs, has many bacteria. When a cat bites you, you may inject some of the bacteria in the process. Naturally, this will lead to the development of an infection. Cat bites can be anything from a simple scratch of the skin, to a deep bite.


Symptoms of an Infection From a Cat Bite

Ideally, you should see a doctor as soon as you get a cat bite, since there are chances that you may have developed an infection. These symptoms might mean that your cat bite wound is infected:

  • The development of redness around the wound. In people with darker skin, the infected area will be darker than the rest of the skin. This is usually the first sign that your bite has been infected, and you should watch for the spread of the pigment to areas away from the bite.
  • Increase in temperature around the bite. Of course, this occurs as a result of the activity of the red blood cells. When a part of the body is infected, red blood cells take action to fight the foreign antibodies, and this causes an increase in temperature of the infected area.
  • The presence of an odor. After some time, the cat bite can develop odor if infected. This does not necessarily mean you will be stinky- the smell is usually subtle and only got when you get your nose next to the wound. If you let this develop further, then the smell might get stronger.
  • The presence of pus.

If you experience any of these symptoms, then your cat bite probably got an infection and it would be best if you see a doctor as soon as possible.

Conditions That Might Develop From Cat Bites

If treated early, cat bites will rarely develop into any serious condition. It is even unlikely that the bites will require any serious forms of treatment if well handled early enough. If not, these are some of the conditions that may develop:

  • Cat Scratch Disease
  • Pasteurellosis
  • Streptococcal Infection
  • Capnocytophaga infection
  • Staphylococcal Infection

Apart from cat scratch fever, the rest of the infections are rare. They occur when the infection spreads through the blood stream to other areas of the body.

Cat Scratch Disease

Cat scratch disease develops between three to thirty days after getting bitten or scratched by an infected cat. The disease can also develop after a cat licks a person’s open wound. Most commonly, cat scratch disease is transmitted by kittens. Some symptoms of the disease include the development of pimples at the area of the bite, swelling of the lymph nodes, nausea, vomiting, fatigue and fever.

Usually, the condition is not serious, and can heal automatically without the need of a doctor. However, in people with weak immune systems, the disease can take longer to heal, and it would be best to see a doctor. Otherwise, people with healthy immune systems can heal in about three months.


Can a Cat Bite Cause a Serious Condition?

Cat bites have made people get hospitalized, and even undergo multiple surgeries. This commonly happens if the bite is on a tendon or a joint. Bites on the neck, hands, face and fingers should be taken seriously as they could easily result in serious conditions. Also, people with auto immune disorders are at a higher risk of developing serious complications from cat bites.


To avoid having your infection develop to serious levels, you can treat your cat bite wound by cleaning it with clean water. If it develops into an open wound, you should use an antibiotic treatment or a bandage to protect it from external bacteria. If you develop any of the symptoms of a cat bite infection, then you should make a point of seeing the doctor as soon as possible.

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